Tricolor Beech...old trend?

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)March 13, 2010

I almost bought a Tricolor Beech last year...held off as I wasn't sure about its performance.

Is this trendy tree worth the space?

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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

The "Big" 15 foot ones I've seen in parks are the most eye catching thing out there. Ken has an EXCELLENT looking one he's posted pics of.

Worth the space?

I absolutely dig trees obnoxious enough to get the attention of the 99% of folks who don't pay any attention to that sort of thing. Rumor has it they loose some coloration with age and become like a pink tinted purple beech. Haven't seen much for pics of them though.

I've been told the new form being sold now is not the same as a classical Tricolor. Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolor - (rose-marg.)var.beech or something similar is how we should refer to it.

Worth it? Hmmmm, if I was trying to design a front yard to help my house sell I could see how any tree like this could be very "hit or miss". Like a Monte Carlo wearing 24 inch wheels they'll be lovers and haters out there but no one who doesn't notice.

If the variegation does become less pronounced with age nothing wrong with a more classic purple beech either.

Here is a link that might be useful: I just noticed this one.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 1:02AM
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I'd never get one. The colour is good for a short time in spring, but the pink bits soon turn dead, brown and shrivelled, and for the rest of the summer it has ugly distorted leaves looking like someone has fried it with a blowtorch.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 7:28AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I can't say I'd mind if the pink faded through the season.

What I would be concerned is if it scortches like Aesculus.
I know you can potentially avoid this problem by situating properly and supplemental water during dry periods.

If a tree can't offer fall color or at least hold clean foilage through autumn its worthless IMO.

Ken's tree gets one of the top hits for google just happens to be the best looking one out there on google.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 9:21AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The common 'Purpurea Tricolor' ('Roseomarginata') dates from 1880 and originated in Germany. Extremely rare (now extinct?) 'Tricolor' appeared before 1870, in France. The only connection is the common current practice of calling the German one by the name of the French one.

Picture a brown paper bag set alight with pink flames and you have the summer aspect of a more established 'Purpurea Tricolor'. The calico appearance of young trees often does not persist. One friend had the white component diminish markedly the second year after planting.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 11:30AM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

A tricolor beech is a great plant. If planted in a semi understory type setting with filtered sunlight and some direct sun it will hold its color well. Of all the plants in my yard, it along with a Hoopsii Blue Spruce and maybe a Gold Rush Dawn Redwood get noticed the most.

If you are going to get one I would make sure it is in full leaf as some seem to have much more pink in the leeaf than others.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 3:54PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

To be fair, Nyssa Sylvatica and my Fraxinus americanas have GREAT fall color. How long does that last though? Most of the year they're pretty routine and rely on being a stately "shape".

The few Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolor - (rose-marg.)var.beeches I've seen seemed excellent until late July then the leaf tips turned white which was ok, then one scorched a bit, the other got boring.

Mine is in a spot near the damp are of my yard, probably gets a bit more mid-day sun than most would prefer but gets more water. Its plenty interesting what its going to do either way whaas, not the safest choice though.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 9:36PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Out here anyway, burning is not the thing but rather the purple fading away.

Which is the case with the branch shown. The non-variegated portions have pretty much gone green.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 10:25PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

may i simplify it for you ....



some have spring glory ... some fall .. etc ..

the spring, early summer, show of this plant.. will go way beyond tingling your toes.. and may necessitate an adult diaper.. JUST DO IT .... [hows that for a mental picture]

see pix below.. ignore the dwarf ....

further... i am a COLLECTOR ... i have no use for two of anything.. by definition ....I HAVE TWO OF THESE ... that should sum it all up from my perspective ....

in your zone 5.. damage should be rarer or lesser than warmer climes... and if you could place it so as to avoid the sun in the high heat of the day.. while still getting full sun [8+ hours] .... you may avoid some of the burn ... the one below is sited on the east side of the house.. so it becomes shaded by 1 pm in summer ... but is still in extremely bright location

the pix show spring color.. the pink starts fading.. and moving toward parchment ... and in a severe summer .. right thru to brown dead tissue.. with the center remaining ... go find something else to look at in late august ... spring is worth it ...



    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 9:57AM
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ripley529(z7a IL)

What variety is that Ken? If that's the correct question. Yours is awesome, but seems there are different tri-color ones??


    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 2:59PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

sold to me as tri-color beech ... no further name..

bboy .. per his note above calls it roseo .. whatever ...

frankly .. i have never seen one with a cultivar name.. they are simply sold with the generic name of tricolor ...


    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 3:15PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I mail ordered one which seems identical to Ken's. It has some homage paid to the version of the name.

There are at least four in St Louis area parks, two tagged at MOBOT, which look the same. Well, not always as good but like the same tree.

Ken's does look better than either at MOBOT lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: Forest Farm Fagus sylvatica Purpurea Tricolor - (rose-marg.)var.beech

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 10:34PM
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is my tree dead??,,,it came up nicely in spring,,,and now it looks like this,,,the stems are not brittle,,,YET

thanks for looking,,,

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 3:11PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Sorry to hear about your tree. Perhaps too much water?
They like very well drained soils.

To my disbelief the color on mine is still quite good on July 1st. Even with the abnormal scorching heat and lack of rain. Of course I've given it a deep watering 1x a week. Planted last spring.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 9:39PM
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